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Nuclear waste host communities exploited – by blackmail, ”noble sacrifice” and greed

Governments prefer a distant disadvantaged, impoverished, preferably indigenous community to host nuclear wastes. Governments then promise the health, education etc services that they should be providing anyway.

Then there’s the noble goal of ”sarifice” – providing a benefit to the nation.

Then there’s greed, as selected local dignitaries and businesses get attractive bribes to promote the dump plan to the community.

Eventually, the community becomes dependent on the nuclear industry, – which happens also in other situations, such as in nuclear energy and nuclear weapons plants.


February 5, 2022 Posted by | Christina's themes, wastes | 1 Comment

Even the right-wing Cato Institute wants USA to deal with Ukraine crisis by diplomacy, not weaponry

Washington has also mentioned steps to “enhance deterrence” on the continent, which could entail the forward deployment of additional U.S. nuclear weapons.

As Clouds Gather in Eastern Europe, Nuclear Diplomacy is More Important Than Ever

More must be done to keep tensions over Ukraine from deepening nuclear instability.   Defense One BY ERIC GOMEZ, 4 Feb 22, DIRECTOR, DEFENSE POLICY STUDIES, CATO INSTITUTE

The risk that a Russian invasion of Ukraine by conventional forces could lead to the use of nuclear weapons appears relatively low, but their shadow is never completely absent from a crisis involving nuclear-armed states. Moreover, this crisis—no matter how it ends—seems likely to lead toward more strategic instability, not less. As preoccupied as U.S. diplomats must be with the threat of imminent conventional invasion, they must also work urgently to launch confidence-building measures that might prevent a nuclear war

The recent back-and-forth between Washington and Moscow has been free of explicit nuclear threats, but there has been some nuclear signaling. As Russia massed forces near Ukraine in December, its foreign ministry released two proposed treaties, one for NATO and one for the United States. The draft of the NATO treaty included an article prohibiting the deployment of missiles previously outlawed by the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The draft of the U.S. treaty had more explicit references to nuclear weapons, including pledges to not deploy them outside national territory and to not train personnel from non-nuclear countries in their use—a reference to NATO nuclear-sharing arrangements

Washington’s response to the buildup has centered on sanctions and deploying  conventional military forces to NATO allies in eastern Europe. But it has also mentioned steps to “enhance deterrence” on the continent, which could entail the forward deployment of additional U.S. nuclear weapons. And while the Biden administration has said that it will not send U.S. troops to defend Ukraine, which helps reduce the likelihood of a NATO-Russia conflict, it has also signaled that it will send more forces to eastern Europe if Russia attacks Ukraine.

For its part, Moscow has warned that it will respond if NATO expands its troop presence in eastern Europe. Among its options are moving nuclear weapons closer to western Europe. Such moves could lead NATO to add even more forces to deter an attack on member countries, thus setting off a spiral of actions and counter-actions with no clear way to break the cycle.

Ultimately, this spiral is likely to put more nuclear forces in closer proximity, inherently decreasing stability and increasing the risk of accidental war. It may also prompt more calls to expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which in turn could make it harder for Washington and Moscow to reach new agreements on nuclear arms control…………………Another potential reassurance measure would be negotiating mutual limitations on the deployment of missiles previously outlawed by the INF Treaty. Russia has already signaled such limitations in its December demands, and the United States reportedly responded positively to the idea of mutual limitations

he faint but darkening nuclear shadow over the Ukraine crisis means that these kinds of ideas and discussions are no diplomatic side show. They are crucial to warding off instability of an even more potentially devastating type.

February 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Decommissioning is just the beginning of the huge nuclear legacy problem

Nuclear power concerns outlast decommissioning, Great Lakes Echo,   By Cameryn Cass 4 Feb 22,

Editor’s note: This is part of a package of two articles and a podcast about nuclear power in Michigan.

As Michigan and other states gradually move away from coal and other brown energy sources, there’s growing interest in carbon-free alternatives, including nuclear energy,

As Michigan and other states gradually move away from coal and other brown energy sources, there’s growing interest in carbon-free alternatives, including nuclear energy, which some advocates call a “clean alternative” that now fuels 30% of Michigan’s total electricity.

One nuclear plant in the state, Big Rock Point in Charlevoix closed in 1997 and has been fully decommissioned. In the spring of 2022, the Palisades Nuclear Plant in Southwest Michigan’s Van Buren County will close because of a “business decision.”

Michigan also has the Fermi Nuclear Power Plant in Newport, near Monroe, and the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Power Plant in Berrien County’s Bridgman, according to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.

With Palisades and other plants in the Great Lakes region scheduled to shut down in the coming decades, more people are considering the long-term impacts of this energy source.

After decommissioning, radioactive waste remains on-site, said Susan Chiblow, an Indigenous environmental scholar in Ontario.

The waste stays in the environment for trillions of years, so calling nuclear power clean is propaganda, she said.

In short, risks don’t disappear when a plant is decommissioned, a process that can take up to 60 years, said Edwin Lyman, the nuclear safety project director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy organization based in Massachusetts.

Although closed plants no longer have to worry about accidents post shut-down, their operators remain responsible for managing the radiated materials and spent nuclear waste, Lyman said.

He said waste now stored on-site is vulnerable to security threats and climate disasters.

For five years, the waste is kept in large swimming pool-like structures where it’s mixed with water to keep it cool. Then, it’s transferred to dry casks, he said.

The U.S. Department of Energy is technically responsible for removing the waste, but it has nowhere to bring it, Lyman said.

“It’s going to be a long-term storage problem for any nuclear plant that’s shut down,” Lyman said……………………………

Thirteen states have banned construction of new nuclear plants.

In the Great Lakes region, Minnesota adopted its ban in 1994. ……

Because the Great Lakes account for one-fifth of the world’s freshwater, Chiblow and other environmentalists are especially interested in protecting it……….c

February 5, 2022 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | 4 Comments

Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) demands deadly plutonium stockpile be placed ‘out of use’

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) of the UK and Ireland has called for Britain’s deadly Plutonium stockpile to be placed ‘out of use’, for an early end to reprocessing, and for greater accountability and more transparency about the long-term management of radioactive materials arising from decommissioning operations at the UK’s former nuclear power plants.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is the agency charged with making safe and cleaning closed civil nuclear plants. It has just published a draft Business Plan for 2022-5 and invited comments.

In its response, the NFLA also expressed its disappointment that reprocessing at Sellafield did not end in 2020 as was originally promised and that there isstill no clear end date.

The NFLA also wants to see a comprehensive inventory of all radioactive materials created for each site, including those arising from decommissioning operations, and for local authorities to be consulted over arrangements for their transport and management.

 NFLA 3rd Feb 2022

February 5, 2022 Posted by | - plutonium, UK | Leave a comment

The European Commission declares nuclear power to be green, but the devil is in the detail.

Nuclear plants would be deemed green if the sites can manage to safely dispose of radioactive waste. So far, worldwide, no permanent disposal site, has gone into operation though.

no investor would be interested in nuclear or gas if the EU “invested political capital” in getting member states to substantially expand their renewable energy production.

European Commission declares nuclear and gas to be green, DW 4 Feb 22,

The European Commission has labeled nuclear and gas as sustainable. Critics are calling the step “greenwashing” and say it could threaten the bloc’s bid to become climate-neutral by 2050.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen cannot repeat often enough how close stepping up climate action is to her heart.

She described the European Green Deal as “Europe’s man on the moon moment.” She has called climate neutrality “our European destiny.” And she solemnly proclaimed that no effort will be spared for Europe to become the world’s first continent with net-zero emissions.

But as often, the devil is in the detail. 

The big question is how exactly the European Union intends to achieve its goals.

One measure being put into place is a so-called taxonomy, “a classification system, establishing a list of environmentally sustainable economic activities,” according to the European Commission.

This taxonomy could be described as the EU’s green investment rulebook, intended to serve the goal of allowing the continent to become climate neutral by 2050.Can gas and nuclear be green?

Critics say the objective of climate neutrality could be under threat, as the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, decided to give nuclear energy and natural gas a green label under this taxonomy.

Nuclear power plants would be deemed green if the sites can manage to safely dispose of radioactive waste. So far, worldwide, no permanent disposal site, has gone into operation though.

At a news conference in Brussels, Mairead McGuinness, the EU commissioner responsible for financial services, said her institution was not guilty of “greenwashing,” as gas and nuclear were labeled as “transitional” energy sources in the taxonomy. “Our credibility is still strong,” McGuinness added.

Environmental organizations most certainly see this critically, saying the proposal could jeopardize the EU’s aim to reach climate neutrality by 2050. The Climate Action Network Europe wrote that the EU Commission “sacrifices the scientific integrity of the taxonomy on the altar of fossil gas and nuclear lobbies” and failed to “reorient financial flows towards genuinely climate-positive investments.”

And it’s not just climate activists: Also a group of experts advising the EU on the matter had announced how they are worried about “the environmental impacts that may result,” for example the consequences of a nuclear accident. Building new nuclear plants would also take too long to contribute to the 2050 neutrality goals, they believe.

The proposal was preceded by a heated debate among EU countries. While some consider nuclear to be a good bridging technology, others are strongly opposed, and prefer gas instead.

Germany pro-gas, France pro-nuclear

France, which derives about 70 percent of its electricity from nuclear plants, is — unsurprisingly — heading up the pro-nuclear fraction. It is supported by a group of EU states including Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Finland. 

Especially France wants to invest in new nuclear power plants, particularly in new generation, so-called small modular reactors.

……………Denmark, Austria and Luxembourg share this  [Germany’s] view, highlighting the controversial point of where to safely store highly radioactive nuclear waste. 

In a letter to the European Commission, Germany’s current governing coalition has clearly said that gas is needed as an interim energy source until enough renewables are available.

To avoid a clash with its EU neighbor France, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz downplayed the importance of the taxonomy at an EU leaders’ meeting last year, saying the debate was “completely overrated.”

Georg Zachmann, a senior fellow at the Brussels-based Bruegel think tank, has been following the EU’s energy and climate policy for years. He said that, in the end, he was relatively sure no decision would be taken in Brussels to prevent France, for example, from investing in and building new nuclear reactors. 

The Commission is keen to have the taxonomy viewed as the “gold standard” for guiding private investment toward measures that help fight climate change. 

But in Zachmann’s view, no investor would be interested in nuclear or gas if the EU “invested political capital” in getting member states to substantially expand their renewable energy production.

“We know that onshore wind and solar power are not very costly in most European countries,” he pointed out.

What happens next?

The European Commission’s taxonomy proposal will now be reviewed by the 27 EU member states and by the European Parliament. 

As the EU’s executive opted for a delegated act, a type of fast-track legislative procedure, only a total of 20 EU countries, or a majority of EU lawmakers at the European Parliament, would be able to reject it.

While EU states are not likely to turn down the taxonomy, a win in the European Parliament is not yet certain. Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum have expressed anger over the inclusion of fossil gas and nuclear power in the EU taxonomy.

Green lawmaker Rasmus Andresen said he was “disappointed” by the proposal, adding that the Green parliamentary fraction would fight hard to gather a majority against the taxonomy.

German Social Democrat Joachim Schuster told DW he thought it possible that the European Parliament could vote against the act. 

And even if lawmakers were to support it, there is another threat looming: Austria and Luxembourg have already threatened to sue  the European Commission over the taxonomy rules.

February 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bill To Ban Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage In New Mexico Passes House Committee

It’s inconceivable why New Mexico has to be the dumping ground for the nation’s ill-advised investment in nuclear energy and nuclear weapons,” said Paul Gibson, co-founder of Retake Our Democracy. “The risk to our community is far greater than the benefit.”

Although the site is termed temporary, Holtec is seeking a 40-year license to operate there, which opponents say would make it permanent.

By SCOTT WYLAND, The Santa Fe New Mexican, 4 Feb 22, A bill clearly aimed at blocking Holtec International from building an underground storage site for spent nuclear fuel in southeastern New Mexico is moving forward.

The House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee voted 5-4 to advance a bill that would ban the storage or disposal of spent nuclear fuel in the state — and would essentially kill Holtec’s plans to build a repository for this high-level radioactive waste in the Carlsbad area.

It now will go to the House Judiciary Committee.

A key point in the debate was whether the state has the authority to stop the federal government from approving what’s described as an interim storage site to keep the material until a permanent place is created.

Some lawmakers and regulators who back House Bill 127 say although the state can’t interfere with how the commission regulates the waste, it can block storage sites that could cause adverse environmental impacts.

The bill’s opponents argue the state still would be preempting the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s authority in managing commercial nuclear waste. That simply is not allowed, no matter what criteria the state uses, they said.

But Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, who strongly supports the bill, said the state is well within its rights to say no to nuclear disposal sites that could contaminate vital resources, such as groundwater, and pose risks to communities when the waste is transported by rail across the country.

“Does New Mexico have the authority to do this? Yes, we do,” Steinborn said. “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission absolutely has primacy over regulating spent fuel. But what we’re talking here is the siting of this material, and our concerns on multiple grounds.”

Still, Rep. Larry Scott, R-Hobbs, contends the federal government’s power to regulate radioactive material overrides any state authority, including on environmental matters.

“I’m looking at your legislation, which seems to completely contradict that,” Scott said.

Last year, the state sued the federal government, contending the commission hadn’t done enough to ensure Holtec’s proposed site wouldn’t harm the environment, communities or the oil and gas industry in one of the nation’s richest fossil fuel regions.

Although the site is termed temporary, Holtec is seeking a 40-year license to operate there, which opponents say would make it permanent.

State Deputy Environment Secretary Rebecca Roose said no permanent disposal site has been established, so the waste has nowhere else to go.

“It’s more likely to stay there — the inertia will be to keep it there as opposed to move it someplace else permanent,” Roose said, “if and when a permanent facility is identified.”…………………

The bill’s proponents say it’s necessary to prevent a massive amount of high-level radioactive waste from coming to New Mexico and disproportionately affecting poor and minority communities.

“It’s inconceivable why New Mexico has to be the dumping ground for the nation’s ill-advised investment in nuclear energy and nuclear weapons,” said Paul Gibson, co-founder of Retake Our Democracy. “The risk to our community is far greater than the benefit.” 

February 5, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

‘Nuclear is neither green nor sustainable” – Austria to sue European Commission if it approves nuclear power for financial incentives

 Austria’s chancellor responded to the news by saying “nuclear power is neither green nor sustainable”. “I cannot understand the decision of the EU,” Karl Nehammer said. He said he would back his environment minister, Leonore Gewessler, in pursuing legal action at the European Court of Justice if the plans go ahead.

“This decision is wrong,” Ms Gewessler said. “The EU Commission today agreed its greenwashing programme for nuclear energy and [the fossil fuel] natural gas.” Luxembourg has also said it will
join in legal action. The EU has set itself a goal of becoming climate neutral by 2050 and the Commission argues that to get there, a great deal of private investment is needed. Its proposals are meant to guide

 BBC 3rd Feb 2022

February 5, 2022 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE, Legal | 2 Comments

Austria, Luxembourg to take green label for nuclear and gas to EU courts

Austria, Luxembourg to take green label for nuclear and gas to EU courts

By Nikolaus J. Kurmayer |   4 Feb 22, The EU’s sustainable finance rules presented on Wednesday will award a “green” label to gas and nuclear power, which has prompted Austria and Luxembourg to announce a lawsuit.

The European Commission’s proposal would primarily satisfy the “wishes of the nuclear power lobby,” explained Austrian minister for climate protection Leonore Gewessler.

The Commission’s delegated act “is a greenwashing programme,” she said. As soon as the taxonomy enters into force, Austria “will bring a lawsuit to the European Court of Justice.”

“Luxembourg strongly reaffirms its opposition to the inclusion of nuclear & fossil gas in the decision on EU Taxonomy for ‘sustainable’ finance of the EU Commission,” explained Luxembourg’s minister for energy Claude Turmes. “We will consider further legal steps together with Austria.”

The taxonomy would enter into force on 1 January 2023 at the earliest and a definitive decision by the courts could be expected in late 2023.

Austria’s EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn had already made his displeasure known by being one of three Commissioners to oppose the decision to include nuclear and gas in an internal Commission vote.

(Nikolaus J. Kurmayer |

February 5, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, Legal | Leave a comment

No excuse. Australia’s nuclear regulator must not approve the government’s planned nuclear waste dump in a FLOOD-PRONE FARM.

Kimba flooding
, By Peter Remta – 3 February 2022
The years of touting by the federal government and the responsible ministers of Kimba in South Australia as the perfect and inarguably superior location for the proposed national radioactive waste management facility have dramatically and quite suddenly disappeared. There is no doubt that the severe flooding caused by the recent heavy rains in South Australia which included the Kimba district is a serious and essential reason for immediately aborting the proposed management facility at Napandee farm near Kimba as the selected facility location

From expert advice it is quite clear that Kimba as a whole – and not just Napandee – is far too dangerous to become the location for the holding of nuclear waste particularly as the results of the present flooding may take up to ten years to overcome without any further flooding

This is especially the case as nuclear isotopes are dispersed and travel freely in water which can affect and contaminate all the surrounding land for many centuries making it completely unusable

There cannot be any excuse by claiming that this flooding may be a once in a lifetime unexpected event as there had been extensive previous floods in the Eyre Peninsula over sixty years ago

More importantly the nature of the proposed facility is that it must be a completely safe and competent environment to hold nuclear waste for several centuries which the federal government claims to be the case as part of its planning

The government as the proponent of the Kimba nuclear waste facility cannot deny knowledge of floods – and also fires – as risks for the purposes of the safety requirements for management of nuclear waste in Australia

The advice by overseas experts is that these two major risks are far more pertinent to Australia than other countries with nuclear waste and consequently the regulatory bodies should or must include these risks within the Australian waste management framework and other applicable prescriptions and standards for the long-term management of Australia’s radioactive waste.

This must obviously include the storage or disposal of nuclear waste at suitably located and established facilities

l informed ARPANSA some eighteen months ago about the formal inclusion of these risks in its safety codes and the requirement for the long overdue start of the safety case for Kimba but the response was that it was not necessary at that stage

The prescriptive requirement is for a safety case for any nuclear installation be started at the very beginning as to why a specific site is considered worthy of investigation

The safety case is then updated as the site characterisation proceeds and if the site fails to live up to initial expectations then it should be abandoned.

This process is an important part of public engagement and if one waits until the end of the process then the argument for safety is less credible and the chance to generate public support has been lost (1)

It seems to be a case of falling asleep at the wheel as mentioned previously by the Hon. George Gear with regard to the regulatory role of ARPANSA (2)

Irrespective of the colourful presentations and nicely sounding spin by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and even to some extent by ARPANSA there is no doubt that this is a serious breach of the safety requirements that should have been applied to Kimba at the outset

I think that ARPANSA will shortly hear from the UN Special Rapporteurs involved with this situation so that they can properly protect the human rights of the Kimba community.

It will be interesting to see how specifically ARPANSA and ANSTO will deal with the lack of a safety case from the beginning of the government’s proposals as this seems a major failing in proper and necessary safety regulation

As also previously pointed out the federal government should have given the Kimba community the opportunity and with the necessary funding for getting an independent assessment and review of the government’s proposals particularly as there had been so much vehement opposition to the proposed facility

I am not in any way suggesting that this would have stopped the flooding but there should have been proper and early regulation and oversight of the risks of floods and other calamities whether natural or man-made in a much stronger manner

It is now quite obvious that the Kimba region is completely unsuitable and inappropriate for the establishment of the national waste facility and ARPANSA as the regulator should immediately stop anything further being by or on behalf of the government to pursue the establishment of the facility

This should include the withdrawal and cancellation of ministerial declaration to select Napandee as the site for the proposed facility even if the necessary legislative changes may need to await the next parliament

At least this may give the community of Kimba and in fact the whole Eyre Peninsula some comfort and respite from their long-standing concerns.

February 5, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, politics, wastes | 1 Comment

Despite scientific objections, the European Commission sticks to its draft plan to include nuclear and gas in “taxonomy for sustainable finance”

 Brussels has stuck by a decision to classify nuclear power and some forms of natural gas as green energy, defying criticism from scientists and climate change experts over its landmark sustainable finance rules.

The European Commission on Wednesday published a largely unrevised final text of its The EU’s taxonomy is a sweeping classification system for industries that produce about 80 per cent of the bloc’s emissions to guide private capital into environmentally sustainable activities.But Brussels has come
under fire for bowing to pressure from pro-nuclear and pro-gas member states to include the two technologies under the green label in an initial draft first reported by the Financial Times.sustainable finance” which has come under fire from EU governments, environmental campaigners and the European Investment Bank for its acceptance of nuclear power and forms of carbon-emitting gas.

The EU’s taxonomy is a sweeping classification system for industries that produce about 80 per cent of the bloc’s emissions to guide private capital into environmentally sustainable activities.But Brussels has come under fire for bowing to pressure from pro-nuclear and pro-gas member states to include the two technologies under the green label in an initial draft first reported by the Financial Times.
  FT 2nd Feb 2022

 France24 2nd Feb 2022

 Independent 2nd Feb 2022

February 5, 2022 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

Kazakhstan calls on CANWFZ states parties to join Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons 

Kazakhstan calls on CANWFZ states parties to join Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons  4 February 2022

NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM – The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, Akan Rakhmetullin, held a meeting with the ambassadors of the States Parties to the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia (CAWFZ Treaty), accredited in Nur-Sultan, Kazinform has learnt from the press service of the Kazakh Foreign Affairs Ministry.

During the meeting, the Kazakh diplomat, taking into account the existing relations of friendship and brotherhood, called on the partners from the Nuclear-Weapon-Free zone in Central Asia to become parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and thereby make a significant contribution to strengthening international security.

Rakhmetullin noted that participants of Nuclear-Weapon-Free zones around the world are at the forefront of the nuclear disarmament process. He stressed that the main goals and objectives of establishing Nuclear-Weapon-Free zones are in line with the spirit and principles of the TPNW. Moreover, the obligations that a State Party to the TPNW must undertake are already being fulfilled by the participants in the CANWFZ. Thus, a State Party to the CANWFZ Treaty can join the TPNW without undertaking additional substantive obligations. This is evidenced by a comparative analysis prepared by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

Kazakhstan, as a staunch supporter of nuclear disarmament, took an active part in the United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. Today, our country, together with other parties to the Treaty under the chairmanship of Austria, is preparing for the First Meeting of the States Parties to the TPNW in Vienna. At the initiative of Kazakhstan and Kiribati, as the countries most affected by nuclear tests, a working paper on positive obligations under the TPNW providing for measures to rehabilitate the population and the environment exposed to radiation contamination after nuclear tests was developed and supported by the presiding party.

On January 22, 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force. On March 2, 2018, Kazakhstan signed the TPNW, becoming the 57th country to sign this historic document. On August 29, 2019, Kazakhstan handed over the instrument of ratification of the TPNW to the depositary – the UN Secretary General. Our country is the first and so far the only State Party of the CANWFZ that has joined the TPNW.

February 5, 2022 Posted by | Kazakhstan, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear power: CO2 fix or cost disaster?

Nuclear power: CO2 fix or cost disaster? E and E News  | 02/04/2022 President Biden’s plan to decarbonize the U.S. electricity sector by 2035 could give a boost to nuclear power, but that may hinge on two key questions: Can carbon targets really incentivize the technology, and can it compete cost wise with natural gas?

It’s a debate that is resurfacing, considering recent surging prices of natural gas.

Yet industry hasn’t answeredwhether nuclear will be more economic for producing power, especially after costs for two new reactors at Plant Vogtle in Georgia skyrocketed. The actual costs of 75 of the more than 90 existing nuclear power reactorsin the U.S. exceeded the initially estimated costs of the units by over 200 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

There are many facets of the cost question — existing nuclear plants in competitive markets face economic challenges that could force them to close early, saddling operators with stranded costs and removing emissions-free electrons [not really emissions-free]  from the grid. Meanwhile, no large, baseload reactors are on the table. The industry is working to develop smaller, next-generation reactors by the next decade, but the fate and final costs of projects are uncertain.

“There doesn’t seem to be, in the near term, a big thing that’s going to be pushing” nuclear, said Paul Patterson, a utility analyst with Glenrock Associates LLC. Whether the nuclear industry builds new reactors could help shape the electricity mix for decades. Falling renewable energy costs and higher gas prices may also influence investment decisions for nuclear in unexpected ways.

………… Southern Co.’s Vogtle expansion project hasn’t helped the case for baseload nuclear. The project, which was supposed to lead a resurgence of larger reactors in the 2000s, remains theonly major nuclear power construction project in the United States. Vogtle’sprice tag is twice an earlier $14 billion budget, andthe project is more than seven years behind schedule.

……more than one big electric company has shelved its plans to build large reactors using similar technology because of the litany of troubles at Vogtle…………………….

it’s unclear whether SMRs will face some of the same cost challenges as traditional reactors.

In the past, the higher price tag for nuclearin comparison to expectations was tied to safety regulations, which are the most stringent of all power plants. What’s more, if any work needs to be redone to meet strict codes, that pushes out the deadline to finish the plant.

The longer it takes to get it right, the more expensive the reactors become.

“There are so many concerns about radioactive material, etc., so that’s what drives much of the cost,” Glenrock’s Patterson said. “You don’t have the same issues associated with regulations for other power plants, understandably so.”

………… A group of former nuclear regulators in the United States, Germany and France argued last month that nuclear isn’t safe, clean or smart.

It’smore expensive than renewables in terms of producing energy and mitigating carbon dioxide, even accounting for costs such as pairing renewable energy with storage, according to the group, which alsoincludes a former secretary to a United Kingdom radiation protection committee.

The former regulators said nuclear is unlikely “to make a relevant contribution to necessary climate change mitigation” that’s needed by the 2030s………………………………..

Gas and renewables

Ultimately, the trajectory of nuclear will directly affect how wind, solar, batteries and fossil fuels are used in the coming decades.

Coyle pointed out that while the cost of Vogtle has doubled during the seven-year delay, the price of renewables, including storage, has dropped. Going forward, she argues that Georgia Power should compare the cost of planned generation with not only combined-cycle natural gas but also with renewable options such as utility-scale solar and long-term agreements to buy wind power.

“This argument that, ‘Well, it’s reliable, it’s low-cost, it’s carbon-free,’ then why are we still comparing it to combined-cycle natural gas?” Coyle said.

“There are now significantly more cost-effective renewable energy options than any of us anticipated back in the day when Vogtle 3 and 4 were certified.”……………

February 5, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) of the UK and Ireland call for clear commitment to employ LOCAL nuclear decommissioning workers.

 The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) of the UK and Ireland has called
for a clear commitment to offer work to local people on decommissioning
work when nuclear plants close.

In its response to the consultation just
carried out by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the agency
charged with making safe and clearing closed civil nuclear plants, on its
future Business Plan, the NFLA has called for support to be made available
to staff losing employment from a decommissioned plant to enable them to be
either reengaged in a role supporting the decommissioning process or find
alternate employment’. The NFLA also wants to see local contractors
continue to be hired to supply goods and services to the work.

 NFLA 1st Feb 2022

February 5, 2022 Posted by | decommission reactor, employment, UK | Leave a comment

Predictions of technical problems for Hinkley nuclear design turn out to be well founded

 When the scheme started, EDF were confident that the facility would be
open within five years. The cost budget was £19 billion. Today the
situation is very different and many of the concerns expressed have proved
to be well founded.

There remain major concerns regarding the technical
solution being used by EDF. The reactor is a new generation design,
produced by France and Germany. To say that there are teething problems
with this would be an understatement. This system is being used to upgrade
France’s fleet of 56 ageing nuclear reactors. They are currently building
a new reactor in Flamanville. The project cost for this has quadrupled.

 North Devon Gazette 3rd Feb 2022

February 5, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Russia, China call on nuclear powers to abandon Cold War mentality

Russia, China call on nuclear powers to abandon Cold War mentality — statement,

Russia and China “oppose further enlargement of NATO and call on the alliance to abandon its ideologized approaches, to respect the sovereignty, security and interests of other countries and the diversity of their civilizational, cultural and historical backgrounds.

BEIJING, February 4. /TASS/. Russia and China call on nuclear powers to abandon the Cold War mentality, reduce the role of nuclear weapons in their policies and restrict the development of anti-ballistic missile defense systems, both countries said in a joint statement on Friday.

“The sides welcome the Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear-Weapons States on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races and believe that all nuclear-weapons States should abandon the cold war mentality and zero-sum games, reduce the role of nuclear weapons in their national security policies, withdraw nuclear weapons deployed abroad, eliminate the unrestricted development of global anti-ballistic missile defense (ABM) system, and take effective steps to reduce the risks of nuclear wars and any armed conflicts between countries with military nuclear capabilities,” says the Russia-China joint statement on the international relations entering a new era and the global sustainable development……………….

February 5, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment